So, we saw a funny quote on Pinterest the other day. In a simple yellow box graphic, packaged neatly with the Pinterest logo were the following words to live by:
Warning: May be highly ADDICTIVE, May cause INSOMNIA. USE CARE when combined with Facebook or Twitter. May result in great IDEAS or just wasted TIME…
We know from personal experience that at least some of the above indications can be all too hilariously true. However, after seeing this (and laughing in agreement) and with only a few short weeks of creating our own Ashworth boards on Pinterest under our belt, we decided to do a little recon to see if military spouses are pinning and if so, what are you pinning and why.
Before we get ahead of ourselves though, let’s give those of you of our audience who might be scratching their heads and thinking “But I just got the hang of tweeting!” a high-level overview of Pinterest.
To Everything Pin, Pin, Pin… What is Pinterest?
Quite simply, Pinterest is VISUAL social media. Although it’s been around since 2010, it’s recently caught on like wildfire – and it’s still in invitation-only mode! How does Pinterest work? Well, remember when you mercilessly ripped magazines to shreds to save great ideas reserved for your bedroom wall or the kitchen cork board? Wedding ideas, party ideas, recipe ideas… Well, that’s exactly the inspiration behind Pinterest. You create boards, follow boards, upload images, pin your images, re-pin images from others and collaborate with others, all to organize and share the things that interest and excite you. Pretty simple and yes; totally addictive!
So, Back to our Little Scavenger Hunt.
After a not-so-exhaustive search, we came across dozens of boards created by military spouses, dedicated to everything from inspirational quotes and PCSing tips to patriotic crafts, military wedding ideas and more. And, the US Army, US Navy and National Guard, as well as schools like Ashworth College, who are dedicated to the unique needs of military spouses, have created boards on topics like education advancement, tuition resources, portable careers and more. But, Pinterest can be a greater resource for military spouses than a just a great way to swap and collect nifty craft projects, Facebook memes and funny cartoons. Here’s how.
Use Pinterest to Organize your Goals for Success as a Student. We’ve discussed the difficulty of staying motivated in school as a mil spouse. With PCSing, raising a family and supporting your service member, even with the convenience of online study, it can be difficult to keep your eye on the prize. That’s where Pinterest comes in. Pre-pining, lots of people kept the homemade “Vision” board complete with representation of each aspiration clipped from various magazines. While posters are a very good way to lay out one’s goals, Pinterest lets you organize resources for presentations, projects and essays as well as allowing for collaboration on group projects with group members across the country or world. PBS Newshour created a wonderful board on Pinterest called Why I Go to School that shares student-submitted motivational pins about being in and staying in school. You can do the same and share with your peers.
Use Pinterest in Education Careers. Teachers in all areas of education have flocked to Pinterest to help categorize and organize their teaching resources. For example, dedicating a board to lesson plans allows teachers not only to organize current plans but to prepare for future lessons. Teachers are also using Pinterest as a clearinghouse for idea sharing. Whether sharing with other teachers, parents or students, Pinterest is a great way to share thoughts that pertain to the classroom while engaging participation and providing access to student resources like tutorials, study aids and more.
Use Pinterest to Cultivate a Client base. People in portable careers like wedding planning, graphic and web design, travel and tourism, floral design and cooking and catering to name a few are using Pinterest to grow their businesses by creating portfolio boards that showcase their work while linking back to a blog or website that gives prospective clients more detail. Some are even offering online coupons and posting QR codes that incentivize the user to consider their services. Weddings in particular have great opportunity to help bridal couples visually pull together their entire event, right down to the honeymoon getaway, in a way that allows for multiple adjustments with little to no cost.
Use Pinterest to Sell your Stuff. Have a small or home-based business? Want free advertising for your products? Post photos of your products, add price points and upload. Make sure to link your images to your EBay store, blog or website. That way, new customers can click through to purchase from your store or learn more info about your products. Veterans United Home Loans is a great example of companies using Pinterest to educate military spouses on home ownership, including the buying and selling process. And, they cross pin with Military Spouses, the US Army and others to reach you.
Don’t Worry Military Husbands… Pinterest isn’t just for Women
Stats show that 32% of Pinterest users are male. That means that guys are as much in the game as all the girls. While you’ll benefit from sharing the staple pins on PCSing, child care, spouse deployment, etc.; you’ll also provide a unique presence in the mil spouse community, one that other mil husbands can embrace as well.
So, unless you’ve been living social media-free for the last 6 months, you’re probably already using Pinterest… daily… sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. If not, what are you waiting for? Get on the Pinwagon! It’s fun, educational, potentially profitable and yes; totally addictive.
We’ll continue to cover other military spouse education topics on Army Wife Network over the course of the next few months. So, keep your eyes open for the next blog. In the meanwhile, tell us how you use Pinterest, for education?… business?… motivation? Happy Pinning!